The best offense is always a good defense. Prior to the Philadelphia Union versus LA Galaxy soccer match on Oct. 7, 2,151 fans achieved a new record with Guinness World Records for simultaneously sanitizing their hands. SCA, a global hygiene company, and its TorkÂ® brand of away-from-home paper and hand hygiene products, sponsored the record setting to advocate for proper hand hygiene.
"The best way to prevent the spread of germs is to wash and dry hands often, and instant hand sanitizer is one of the most effective ways to maintain proper hand hygiene when warm water and soap are not available," says Donna Duberg, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Saint Louis University and a member of the TorkÂ® Green Hygiene Council.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza is spread when infected people cough or sneeze. The virus can survive for up to eight hours on common surfaces, such as faucets and door handles. Good hand hygiene is essential to minimizing the spread of the virus.
"Professional sporting events such as the Union-Galaxy game, which attract millions of people annually, are the perfect venue to drive home the important message of proper hand hygiene," says Don Lewis, president of SCA Tissue North America. "We feel it necessary to continue promoting frequent and proper hand sanitation to avoid the spread of germs."
To establish the world record, fans placed a small amount of hand sanitizer on their hands. Ensuring the guidelines were properly followed, participants then simultaneously rubbed their hands together for 60 seconds before an on-site Guinness representative declared the new record officially established. The world record was carried out in celebration of the upcoming Global Handwashing Day, an annual event on Oct. 15 that coincides with flu season.
The record was also established as part of "Tork Clean and Green Night" at PPL Park, an initiative geared toward increasing public awareness about proper hand hygiene and sustainability. To support that effort, Philadelphias PPL Park, home of Philadelphia Union, also was equipped with special handwashing stations and recycle bins and posters illustrating proper handwashing technique were displayed in stadium washrooms.
"Understanding the synergies between hygiene and green living is important for a more sustainable planet," Lewis adds. "As a global paper company, were constantly striving to bring hygiene and sustainability to the forefront to keep people and the planet healthy. Events like these help us get closer to accomplishing that mission."